Beating the Graves

Tsitsi Ella Jaji

 

Book coming out in 2017.

Synopsis

The poems in Tsitsi Ella Jaji’s Beating the Graves meditate on the meaning of living in diaspora, an experience increasingly common among contemporary Zimbabweans. Vivid evocations of the landscape of Zimbabwe filter critiques of contemporary political conditions and ecological challenges, veiled in the multiple meanings of poetic metaphor. Many poems explore the genre of praise poetry, which in Shona culture is a form of social currency for greeting elders and peers with a recitation of the characteristics of one’s clan. Others reflect on how diasporic life shapes family relations.

Review

An outstanding offering. Forceful. Fresh. And not afraid. This offering shows Tsitsi Jaji to be an explorer of the textures of lived experience with admirable clarity of vision and expression, in short, a poet deep to the marrow of her sensibility. — Keorapetse Kgositsile, South Africa’s poet laureate

Author

Tsitsi Ella Jaji is an Assistant Professor in English at Duke University. She is also a poet.